WIESBADEN, Germany - Quality-of-life enhancement efforts took another step forward in U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Dec. 1 as German and American leaders broke ground for the new Wiesbaden Army Airfield South Housing Area.
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The huge housing project situated just outside the South Gate of the airfield will include around 300 new housing units comprising townhouses, duplexes, single family housing, new roads, utilities and landscaping. Construction cost is expected to be about $133 million and should be completed by May 2012.
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"Our Soldiers and their families continue to make incredible sacrifices with one deployment following another," said Col. Jeffrey Dill, USAG Wiesbaden commander, during the groundbreaking ceremony. "We want to make sure that when they are home, here in Wiesbaden, they have a very high quality of life and the best family housing opportunities."
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The commander thanked the German community for helping support the transformation effort.
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"We couldn't have more gracious hosts here than the city of Wiesbaden and the state of Hessen. ... Our German friends and counterparts have been supporting us here - not one year or two - but now for over 60 years," said Dill, explaining that that assistance has included everything from making land available for construction to helping with building permits.
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"Soldier and family well-being is a vital cornerstone of our Army," said Col. Brian T. Boyle, acting region director of the Installation Management Command-Europe. "This project is just the latest example of how we're delivering on our commitment to give Soldiers and families the quality of life that the Army and the nation owe them."
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Likewise acknowledging the vital support provided by the host nation, Boyle said, "I'd like to especially recognize the entire Wiesbaden community and the state of Hessen for their enduring bonds of friendship, support and generosity, and without whom this day would not have been possible. I think I echo the sentiments of every American here today when I say that we could not be happier that countless future generations of Soldiers and their families who will reside here will benefit in experiencing firsthand the wonderful bonds of friendship that the Army enjoys with Wiesbaden. Through the impact of this and countless other projects here, I have no doubt that Soldiers and their families not only will be proud to call Wiesbaden their home, but also their hometown."
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Referring to recent discoveries of Roman artifacts in the building site, Dr. Helmut MAfA1/4ller, Wiesbaden's lord mayor, reflected on how, like the Romans some 2,000 years ago, the U.S. military has chosen the area to build future housing for "its excellent surroundings."
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Presenting a cloth sack used to transport goods for the German population after World War II and during the Berlin Airlift, but filled with chocolate for the ground breaking, the Wiesbaden mayor said he was happy to see the continuation of a 60-year tradition - Americans belonging to Wiesbaden history.
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During the groundbreaking ceremony Col. John Kem, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District, described how new construction efforts not only enhance housing standards by providing modern homes meeting contemporary standards, but also meet the highest environmental standards. "Because of the selective materials used, the water and energy efficiencies designed, and our assurance to sustain the existing environmental conditions, the construction of this community will meet our highest environmental standards.
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"Not only will the units themselves be more comfortable than the older stairwell apartments, but the community itself will also be more comfortable, with playgrounds, picnic areas with grills, a sports field, a running/biking path and community plazas for yard sales," said Kem.
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"A new chapter is being written in our shared history," said Dr. Thomas SchAfA$fer, state secretary in the Hessen Finance Ministry, citing the ground breaking as the commencement of a long-term project that will eventually see the relocation of the U.S. Army Europe Headquarters from Heidelberg to Wiesbaden. "I give you my assurance that in the future as well, the plans of the U.S. authorities will enjoy the full support of the administration of the state of Hessen."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16